‘Tis the season to give

The only Christmas I’ve ever spent away from Chicago was in Kenya in 2006.

Christmas is a magical time of year. Where I come from, it’s a time of fairy lights twinkling in the brisk night, of snow falling quietly on the bustling city, of singing along to familiar carols, of glowing fires and laughter and general happiness. But it is also a time of giving, as is reflected in the red tins and ringing bells, toy drives and granting of Christmas wishes by radio DJ’s.

Celebrating Christmas at my school in Kibera, 2006.
Celebrating Christmas at my school in Kibera, 2006.

VICDA first entered my life in 2006 when I worked as a volunteer for six months in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Since that time, I’ve returned twice to Kenya, recruited and encouraged new volunteers and have helped manage their website. Irene Wairimu, VICDA’s founder and executive director, has become a dear friend and I’ve long admired her passion and dedication to her organization. VICDA has improved the lives of thousands of Kenyans since its inception over 10 years ago, especially IDP’s, orphans and those living with HIV/AIDS.

Each Christmas Irene reaches out to her supporters all over the world to raise money in order to supply Christmas dinner to the neediest of her projects. Last year she was able to raise money to feed 700 families at Lemolo A & B IDP Camps and this year she hopes to do the same. $8USD will buy each family 1 kilo of lentils, 1.5 liters of cooking oil, chapati flour, biscuits and juice – a real treat, especially for the children.

Irene distributes Christmas dinners to children at Lemolo last year.
Irene distributes Christmas dinners to children at Lemolo last year.

As this very special time of year I ask something of my readers: to support this cause along with me. To show a family in Kenya that they are important, valued, loved and deserving of a celebratory Christmas dinner. To encourage Irene and VICDA in their work and dedication to helping those in need. To spread that ever infectious and wonderful Christmas cheer from all corners of the world and to rejoice in the many blessings that we have.

Donations can be made to VICDA through Ammado or through GVN Foundation’s fundraising page. If you donate and would like to see photos and hear about the distribution please send me an email (aladyaway [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will happily forward Irene’s Christmas message on to you.

As you enjoy this magical time of year I hope that you think of the families in Kenya who will be celebrating the holiday as well. Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!


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